Two of the natives implicated were court-martialled and shot (February 15); others were subsequently arrested and tried by court martial.
He was court-martialled on his return, but was acquitted on all charges except that of illegally punishing men in his squadron.
That Wilkes discovered an Antarctic continent was long doubted, and one of the charges against him when he was court-martialled was that he had fabricated this discovery, but the expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1908-1909 corroborated Wilkes.
This controversy ended in his being court-martialled in 1864 and being found guilty on several counts and sentenced to public reprimand and suspension for three years.
Some remained, and six of these were ultimately court-martialled in England, three being executed in 1792.